Bed Bugs & Pets

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Bed bugs will feast on pets if they can't get human blood.
Bed bugs will feast on pets if they can't get human blood. (Image: Puppies of the spitz-dog and cat in studio image by Ulf from Fotolia.com)

Bed bugs are parasites that feed on human blood. Called bed bugs because they usually feed at night while people are in bed, bed bugs are adept at crawling onto and biting pets just as well as people.

Types

There are two types of bed bugs that will feed on humans and animals: Cimex lectularius and Cimex hemipterus.

Hosts

Humans are the primary host for bed bugs; however, bed bugs will feed on any warm-blooded animal. Bed bugs will feed on cats, dogs, birds, and rodents.

Identification

It's harder to identify bed bug bites on pets because of the pets' fur or feathers, but animals will have itchy red bumps. Bed bugs are reddish brown or brown and flat and less than 1/4-inch long.

Misconceptions

Bed bugs are normally carried by people, not animals. They're spread through contact with infested areas such as motels, hotels, and anywhere humans stay the night and have a high turnover rate; your pet isn't to blame for the infestation.

Prevention/Solution

Eliminating bed bugs requires washing all bedding, human and pet. Inspect all furniture and areas the bed bugs could hide. Frequent vacuuming and spot treatment with insecticides made to kill bed bugs will help; keep pets away from sprayed areas.

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